Magazine

Mar-Apr 2014

Table of Contents
Mar-Apr 2014

Living Infrastructure | New Ideas for Asian Cities

In this issue we look into infrastructure as an element that regulates the flow of people, materials and energy. It has metabolism; there is consumption, flow and emission. It is interconnected and interdependent. An intake of nutrients and the ejection of waste keep it alive. We would be talking, in effect, about living infrastructure. Flip this around and it could become a design approach, beginning with a mapping of connectivity and flows, and ending with an evaluation of the health of the organism as a whole.

Let’s break living infrastructure into three categories: blue, green, and grey. The grey constitutes buildings, roads, and transit systems that make up the built elements of the cityscape. Li Sau Kei’s commentary makes the case that transit architecture should be more than an exercise in engineered efficiency. They should be a part of the continuum of public space. Vedasri Siddamsetty, in her piece on modern airports, speaks of the need to design with efficiency and sustainability, while blending local and global artistic elements.

The green is mostly parks but it could be nature reserves for urban agriculture. Punggol Promenade in Singapore and the Three-border-province Park in Thailand appear to be wonderful spaces with strong community-recreation agendas. In her commentary, Miriel Ko asks if forests should be seen as part of infrastructure. Forests sequester CO2 and sustain entire communities.

Under blue, we feature a couple of river revitalisations. These revive lost ecologies and regenerate life in places where pollution has reduced waterways to health hazards. The project in Kuala Lumpur, yet to be completed, looks promising. The Estero de Paco in Manila is underway and the results are inspiring.

 

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